Τετάρτη, 23 Απριλίου 2014

X-clusive presentation of dozeo in Greece / Interview with Mark Egert (COO)

S.K. - Please introduce yourself to the readers of this blog and tell us the background story of dozeo.

M.E. - My name is Mark Egert and I’m one of the founders and COO of dozeo. Back in 2009 my brother in law had the idea during a boring advanced education of his former employer. Everybody sat in a room in front of big screens. Just in short breaks you got to actually see each other. "Why not do that from home, saving time and money and have more fun", he wondered. In the online market, there existed some solutions, but none was easy to handle, cost transparent and looked well. So he decided - let’s start a project ourselves. That’s were I and another guy stepped in and we started our trip, gladly not knowing what way lays before us...

S.K. - How you identified a market problem and seized the opportunity to solve it? How dozeo differentiates from other established video communication software like Skype for example?

M.E. - Back in 2010, when we started, the bandwidth, the CPU of the computers and Flash were ready that you can build a hassle free browser based solution. Videoconferencing is an old theme from enterprise business, but in 2010 it became an enormous exciting market because everybody could participate now with their normal equipment. One study says that till 2020 67% of all business will use web-videoconferencing. Facial expression and body language is so important for communication. It was just a question of time that people want to see each other more often, even in business.You think Skype is older, you are right, but it’s a nice video chat tool and no real conferencing solution as we and some others are. A lot more people can participate. Ad hoc and planned meetings are possible. Neither a contact before the meeting nor a download is needed. Just a klick on the email-link and you are in. A lot more opportunities like file upload and marking or youtube watching is possible. The most important difference between Skype and all the others is our Rest-API. You can embed us in every software, platform or website in a very easy way. That’s how we are able to pimp match making websites, social enterprise software or social network platforms. Our latest project is with www.mybod-e.de. Here you can book your personal fitness coach and do some workout on the internet - live and interactive. You see, lot’s of opportunities.

S.K. - Greek entrepreneurs look for resources with their startups to start rolling. What do you advise? Bootstrapping or submitting a business plan to a VC and give away equity?

M.E. - No general answer on this, but I would try to do it without money first. Stay lean if you can. If you have success in the first place you are in much better position to negotiate your position. I never met someone who told me, we had more revenue as expected. I met more people telling me it took longer and it was much harder than expected. There are the big names and their success stories are nice to read and dream. Everybody has to decide himself if he wants to face reality and that means it’s really hard out there. There are a lot of other success stories out there of smaller and globally unknown names, but they are still successful. Everybody reached his goals by working hard and if they are really honest, everybody had a real portion of luck. Don’t believe the self motivators you can reach everything by striving enough. Yes, you will have to bring great effort, but success depends on more and there are parts which you cannot control. If you are a control freak, forget about the entrepreneurial stuff. 

S.K. - Your future plans and goals with Dozeo? How will you conquer the global markets?

M.E. - Our growth strategy is connected with our API. We want to pimp established websites and platforms with our service. There is no marketing budget to battle the big guys, so that seems to be the smartest way to reach our goals. I think there is a money free growth strategy out there for every tool - just think about cooperations and partnerships - they can open up complete new perspectives. We also think about starting a second solution just for webinars. Check it out www.getgrasp.io.

S.K. - Please close this interview the way you see fit. Thank you for your time!

M.E. - I want to encourage everyone who thinks about starting a business. It will be hard, harder than you can imagine - but it’s worth every second you are in. Even if you fail the first time(s), learn from it, get up and try again.

Click on the link to TRY dozeo FOR FREEhttp://www.dozeo.com/?aid=33307


Σάββατο, 19 Απριλίου 2014

Assorted Links

Alibaba Enters Messaging Market With $215 Million Investment in Tango - http://mashable.com/2014/03/20/alibaba-tango-investment/

Tech Trends That Will Change How People Conduct Business in 2014 - http://blogs.cisco.com/smallbusiness/tech-trends-that-will-change-how-people-conduct-business-in-2014/

Useful Google tools: 14 Google Tools You Didn’t Know Existed - http://mashable.com/2013/07/05/google-tools/#:eyJzIjoidCIsImkiOiJfYnBseDNqaDh4dzMzZmZzaCJ9

Intelligent Business Operations Bundle powered by SAP HANA(R) Helps Organizations Contextualize Big Data Insights into Processes - http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140319-903434.html?mod=wsj_share_facebook

Hellenic Seaplanes Bets on Greek Airborne Island Hopping - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-06/hellenic-seaplanes-bets-on-greek-airborne-island-hopping.html

Greece 2.0 by Marco Veremis, CEO of Upstream - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marco-veremis/greece-20_b_4921543.html

This Insane New App Will Allow You To Read Novels In Under 90 Minutes - http://elitedaily.com/news/technology/this-insane-new-app-will-allow-you-to-read-novels-in-under-90-minutes/

Thomson Reuters Taps Into Twitter For Big Data Sentiment Analysis - http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/03/twitter-raises-its-enterprise-cred-with-thomson-reuters-sentiment-analysis-deal/

Bitcoin-the-network needs Bitcoin-the-currency - http://timothyblee.com/2014/03/01/heres-why-bitcoin-the-network-needs-bitcoin-the-currency/

Build a trustworthy company - http://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/strategy/the-trusted-company/

Be sure to follow ''Zorba The Entrepreneur'' on Twitter! A social media community promoting Greek entrepreneurship and global networking! - https://twitter.com/newZorbas

Stay tuned, an interesting interview & presentation of an innovative start-up company from Germany coming soon...

Τρίτη, 4 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Interview with Yiannis Deliyiannis - founder of tradenow.gr

SK - Please introduce yourself and update us on your latest endeavors.

YD - My name is Yiannis Deliyiannis, I am 42 years old and I hold a BA on Engineering & Management and an MBA. My professional career, focused mainly on business process consulting and Internal Audit, took a twist two years ago when I decided to embark on an entrepreneurship journey with tradeNOW – an online barter marketplace. Together with 3 friends, we decided to build an online marketplace where consumers and companies can trade goods, services and real-estate. www.tradenow.gr  was launched on 9th of January 2013 and one year later has more than 17.000 members and 300 companies – mainly in Greece. We are currently raising funds to expand our operations into Europe. Meanwhile, on February we will attend a 3-week acceleration program in Silicon Valley, exploring the opportunity to establish a US – focused barter platform.

SK - Your personal opinion about the Greek start-up ecosystem. Will Greek start-ups manage to scale up and expand to global markets?

YD - The Greek start-up ecosystem is at an infant stage but it is rapidly building up attracting attention from European investors. Having said that, there is a lot more to be done in organizing and structuring a healthy start-up ecosystem with solid foundations. There are numerous start-up activities taking place all around Greece, but these need to be aligned and coordinated by a formal framework backed up by investment institutions, angel networks and the Greek State. It is fundamental to our country’s recovery that we invest in the cultivation of the “entrepreneurship boom” and build an ecosystem that supports, promotes and develops rock-solid start-ups ready to scale and expand to global markets. Greek start-ups have all the talent and potential to scale up and expand globally, but need proper coaching, mentoring, advice and support to reach their full potential.

SK - Tradenow offers a unique platform that perfectly adapts to the current economic environment in Greece. There is less money available in the market but more need to barter and exchange. How will you respond as a company when Greece's economy will return to normal levels? Is demand for bartering connected with the current  state of a country's economy or there is always a need for bartering independent of national borders and variable financial conditions?

YD - Indeed, tradeNOW offers a unique proposition to both individuals and companies to offset the current economic environment. Individuals barter goods they don’t want any more with products & services they really need and therefore save money. On the other hand, companies see bartering as a way to extract value from perishable or underperforming assets, and to expand into new market channels and find new customers.

Whilst, the current monetary crisis seems to be the perfect timing to launch a barter platform, it is not the most critical success factor. The key to success is a cost conscious, resource utilization, value creation socio-economic culture in all aspects of our economic behavior. A recessionary economy helps to build on these behaviors, but we have invested in the belief that Greece and the rest of the European countries will develop a different consumer profile than the one we have experienced over the past years and that barter will play a significant role in the economic cycle, even when recession is over. 

Barter was the first form of financial exchange, thousands of years before money was invented. Even after money was invented, barter was always there filling the gaps but kept low due to two main limitations: Distance and matching needs. Technology advances have lifted these limitations and enhanced the scope of barter. 
According to the IRTA, 400.000 companies using the “Modern Trade and Barter process” world-wide managed to utilize their excess business capacities and underperforming assets, to ear an estimated $12 billion in previously lost and wasted revenues.

 SK - Your goals in 2014?

YD - Our goals in 2014 are to perform a major upgrade on our platform - providing our users a unique barter experience, to launch a mobile app and to prepare the grounds for global expansion.

SK - Please close this interview as you see fit.

YD - First of all I would like to thank you for the opportunity to present our start-up. 
My closing note is to all those thinking whether or not to take the risk and start their own business – “Do it now!”

Σάββατο, 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

My tips & predictions for 2014

- Wearable technology (like Google Glass) merging with more fashion companies to go mainstream for consumer brands.
- Smart machines will proliferate (like IBM Watson). 
- Internet of everything (IoE). Expect internet to conquer everything, cars, housing devices, plant watering systems and not just your laptop.
- Apps make the world go round! Millions of applications easily searchable hitting your screens every day. The long tail of mobile apps and free competition will decide on who monetizes or not the idea behind the application. Tailored apps for all needs and human desires will be filling Apple Store and Google Play.
- 3D Printers will turn entire industries upside - down and will disrupt all current lines of manufacturing, production, logistics, etc. Companies can benefit from cost efficient prototyping through 3D printing.
- Crowdfunding. Take the story of Pebble Smartwatch which was backed by 85,000+ people through Kickstarter: https://getpebble.com/
Mobility will continue to threaten laptop manufacturers as more and more people jump to smartphones, tablets and other internet connected gadgets. The decline of PC shipments is a strong indicator of mobility taking over. Watch for employees BYOD (bring your own device programs) for management and diversity at work.
- Unlimited information is a driving force for the new economies. Technology and information as economic accelerators.
- Clouds everywhere. Personal Clouds, Corporate Clouds, Hybrid Clouds. Watch for integration and inter-operability thus long term performance of the designed Cloud.
- IT and financial organizations will carry the heavy burden of securing people's data, avoiding frauds and harmful access that can threaten a corporation.
- You won't rely on a certain device anymore. Your personal cloud will be accessed through any device. The challenge will be to easily manage and secure your personal cloud.
- Moving to Cloud is the new reality for businesses so better discover and choose the best cloud package offered to you by tech giants like Cisco, Oracle and others.
- Companies will be investing in R&D and allocating budgets in Cloud solutions to secure their data and offer integrated solutions to their clients and personnel for internal operations.
Big data is the new oil as the impact for every single business independent of its size will be immense. The bet for companies in 2014 will be managing and securing corporate data, client data, transactions. 
- If you don't adapt fast to the disruptive technologies knocking at your door it will become unrealistic to promise your company sustainability.
- Follow emerging markets globally to escape your domestic economic problems and find partners and clients abroad. The limits of the world are constantly expanding. Fast information brings us closer to global opportunities.
- Networking is one of the most important things and secrets of entrepreneurship so keep meeting new people, share your ideas, projects, goals. Feedback is valuable.

May all your dreams come true for 2014!

Mine: Establish Soundmap & Zorba The Entrepreneur as a global transmedia platform for Creatives!

Stathis Kassios

Τρίτη, 19 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Interview with Vassilis Poulopoulos - founder of farmkiosk.com !

1. Please introduce yourself to the readers of this blog and update us on your latest endeavors.

My name is Vassilis Poulopoulos, I have a PhD in Computer and informatics Engineering, and I would like to be considered as an Internet and mobile enthusiast. I strongly believe in the power of the Internet, online services and their representation in the mobile world. As such my main hobby is to work with friends on added value or innovative ideas and try to implement online and mobile services that could make our everyday life simpler or better. My latest endeavors are m-hospitality, ksyla.gr, and farmkiosk.com. All of them are products which are tailor made, based on frameworks rather than already existing systems. Each of them have special and different needs and as such they are treated with love and care by the teams around them.

M-hospitality is a product of H+S Technology Solutions company and I have the responsibility of its technology research and implementation. It is a product related to tourism, it consists of a mobile application and backend solution for hotels and it provides hotel customers with the ability to interact with hotel services, while visionary hoteliers have a tool to monitor personnel and tasks as well as advertise directly to their customers and increase their revenue. It is already a mature product with presence in Greece, UAE, Italy, UK, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Canada and the US. More info can be found in http://www.m-hospitality.com.

Ksyla.gr is an online marketplace for firewood, briquettes and pellet in Greece. The idea arose almost a year ago, and it was born due to the fact that the alternatives for heating turned to be really expensive for the average household. The idea of the marketplace was born and implemented together with G. Adam, Computer and Informatics Engineer, and my coding collaborator since 2007. This marketplace is one of the most successful in Greece related to firewoods and it hosts more than 200 merchants from all over Greece. It's success is related to the fact that it provides an easy way of finding cheap and high quality products, while merchants can use the platform for free in order to have presence to a niche platform on the web!

The experience and owing of a marketplace platform born the idea of farmkiosk.com, which was the reason of our communication. Farmkiosk.com aims to bring together farmers and agricultural products' producers with the consumers all over the world.

2. Farmkiosk aspires to connect Greek traders and micro - producers of agricultural products with the global markets. Is there a significant demand for Greek products? How will you manage to achieve your goals and build a strong online marketplace where demand will absorb supply?

We already mentioned that farmkiosk.com is a marketplace that enables producers and Greek traders present their products to a broader market compared to the one they are presenting their products today. To be more precise, the problem that we are trying to solve is deeper and clearer than the simplistic idea of a global market. Greece has the privilege of having a very large number of micro-producers, each of them having extremely high quality products, mostly because part of the products is consumed by the producers themselves. The radius of action and selling for the production is in most of the cases some kilometers or just some tens of kilometers around the production point. All these enable us to focus primarily on an equally important factor that we call “internal exports”. Of course, achieving exports abroad is the ultimate goal but producers must firstly understand that their products can very easily be spread into our country, and this is kind of large success, it enhances publicity and opens new trade routes. Related to the necessity of spreading greek agricultural products to the global markets, let’s start from a logical admission: as a country we own a lot of traditional products that use to have a completely local character, and remain and exist at the place of their origin without any obvious reason. 

Farmkiosk.com aims to change this mentality, alter the mentality of the farmers, the traders and the producers. It is a means of advertising, of executing direct marketing to a broader and more diverse mass, of having a public place for high quality product presentation. Starting from this change our intention is to create a large market of high quality products from micro-producers in order to spread them within our country and, of course, out of its borders! Most of our customers (traders and producers) until today are small and medium family business, with interesting and quality products, and obvious necessity for a community in order to expand their audience. They can understand that expansion of business can be done through the medium that is called the Internet and this is important for our existence!

We have very few months of existence but we are extremely happy to observe that micro-producers have more than the ability to use an online platform and understand how to benefit from it. This is our first and most important achievement. We are expanding our base of producers and traders and we give a promise that our community will have a free plan to better support small companies that want to invest their time on the Internet. We support with more beneficial packages the ones that would like to spent some more money apart from their time and as a niche platform we ensure more and higher quality promotion than the usual advertisement spaces. We have already started communication with large communities in Europe in order to be able to promote our customers and their products to a larger audience and soon we will be able to present a plan for low-cost logistics which remain a huge problem in the exchange of goods.

3. Your personal thoughts on the Greek ecosystem of start-ups so far. Can we speak of a scene with real essence (customers and revenues) or there's too much noise and fashion in proclaiming ourselves founders and entrepreneurs?

I used to adore the term entrepreneur, I still be using it for myself as well (maybe incorrectly), but as you mention the noise is already enormous, the term start-up is fashion, and recently I have read an interesting article on how all this noise and fashion can destroy the scene. We, as a country, have differentiations in the way of thinking and this is the main reason that the start-up scene can and will flourish in the Greece. We seem to be ingenious in both good and bad things. We try doing things differently and we don’t fear of risking. We may not have other alternatives, and we follow the “start-up” way as the only one. In parallel, we are very keen on reacting like a mass of sheeps. We need to refer to ourselves as entrepreneurs rather than try to be one of them. Seems like the “president” term some years ago. If you go out and shout “entrepreneur” you will see a lot of faces turning to you. We must be careful not to destroy the start-up community. As Dora Pavlidou (@doradidit) mentioned in one of her articles ‘start-ups are “sexy”’ and this is so true! I just hope they remain like that and that this marriage will not destroy enthusiasm.

I would like to mention also that one may observe an underlying “fight” on the representation of the start-ups in Greece, with a large number of the start-ups not even trying to be represented (bad for them). Representation, voice and participation must be part of the daily activities of a start-up, despite the fact that usually there is no time to think of that. But, we must think that a reason for this flourishing of the start-up scene is somewhat like indie music: nobody was able to represent OR people were tired with the way of representation. It is important to understand that we should try to avoid mistakes of the past and try to learn from them. I just hope that the innovation and open mind of the scene will reject the irrelevants

4. Please close this interview as you see fit.

I am really grateful for the space you provided in order to present farmkiosk.com (and ideas..). From my extremely small experience and knowledge I would like to call people change their way of thinking. Instead of crying, blaming, accusing and shouting for “situations that others caused to us”, we should better try to be solution producers and change makers.

Thank you for this interview Vassilis !